I’m not a podcast listener. Not really. I have a friend. This is her thing. I say “her” but she identifies as gender fluid and while she was born a cisgendered male, she has now gone above and beyond in a transformation I am inspired by. Everything she has internalized as her desire to be has become an external expression of who she is. From losing weight, to reassigning her physical gender, to days when she balances where she fits and how she straddles genders. It’s hard enough to be a woman with people telling you how you should look or present yourself, and what beauty means. Any magazine would show you we’re all doing it wrong. She’s both, and she takes the good with the bad, learning with excitement and aplomb. She sees limits but they aren’t her limitations. I admire her and her podcast is my only subscription on iTunes or anywhere.
This friend has done more than I would. I see her and call her my sister because when I see her, she is more like me than a man. I identify with her probably more than she identifies with me. She has moments where she is very male, as do I. I mean, when we’re walking down the street and I stop her to say, “look at him! He’s beautiful.” I’m being the more sexually aggressive one, which is traditionally a male characteristic. This is especially the case when I vocalize my more intimate fantasies. Then I try not to enjoy her discomfort and feel a bit of shame because I’ve made her uncomfortable. When she takes her time texting back, she’s definitely being more male. It doesn’t bother me. It’s who she is. And that’s the point of a text or email, right? You get to it when you feel like it. I think she sees the distinction as more physical but I don’t see her that way. I see her as a beautiful person full of light and raw with emotions most of the time. Her jawline is solid and I can imagine what she would look like if I could only see her as a man. He is beautiful and if I could only see his face the only barrier for me would be the age gap.
The podcast itself is well researched with enough personal influence to express so much more than I’d ever get from a news article on the same topics she explores. She talks about issues in the LGBTQ community and it’s stretched my perception in so many ways.
Just this morning I listened to Episode #8, Transgender and Acting. She brought up so much about issues I never considered, but the more I listen to her, I can see how the LGBTQ community shares so much with the Special Needs Community. There was a moment when she explained how an actor could portray Superman but never fully appreciate what life as an alien is really like. My explanation of the ways my boys are othered by their autism usually involves Superman. He’s different. He’s othered. He has extrasensory perception, similar to my autistic sons (hearing and seeing more than I ever could) and yet I would never call him disabled. Both LGBTQ and Autism are characterized in ways the rest of the world can understand although each person is unique and grouped under an umbrella. The umbrella is for others to understand what the people under the umbrella get to live. I’m so excited that I get to keep learning and stretching because of her. Give her a listen and she’ll give you a lesson. I promise, it’ll be good.